Oxford’s ‘Fiber Festival’ begins tonight

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Knitters and crocheters are usually known to be gentle souls, but this weekend “yarn bombing” will be just one item on their agenda.
Yarn artists from across the Mid-South will convene tonight, Saturday and Sunday at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center for Oxford’s second Fiber Arts Festival, with nearly a dozen workshops. One of those will be the aforementioned yarn bombing, which is a group effort to wrap an object (in this case, a bicycle) decoratively in yarn.
A knitting circle will be active throughout the festival for those who like to mix knitting and socializing, and vendors will bring some yarn-source animals.
The event is sponsored and organized by Knit1 Oxford, a fiber-arts store located just off the Square.
“Fiber festivals happen all around the country, and we felt that Oxford deserved one,” said Patsy Engelhard, who owns Knit1 Oxford, the store that’s sponsoring the event.
The Fiber Arts Festival begins at 6:30 tonight with a lecture by Linda Weghorst on African Kente cloth weaving, which she studied in Ghana. Samples of the cloth and other native crafts will be on display after the talk and slideshow.
Saturday’s workshops include Kumihimo braiding, handwoven jewelry, flower loom, wavy wedges short-row scart making, felting, triangle loomwork, potholders, “God’s Eye” and no-needle finger knitting.
In addition to the workshops, vendors will demonstrate spinning, weaving, feltmaking, and rug hooking throughout the festival. They will also learn about some animals – alpaca, goat, rabbit and llama – whose hair and wool are used for their yarns. Several afghans made as a community effort will be raffled to raise money for Oxford and Lafayette County schools.
Last year’s inaugural Fiber Arts Festival drew some 500 people from as far as Texas and Georgia, including many who don’t knit.
“It’s very family friendly. There’s lots for children to do,” Engelhard said. “All the animals will be there Saturday; the rabbits will be there both Saturday and Sunday. If you want to see where yarn starts, come pet an alpaca.”

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